New outdoor enclosure

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Dot
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Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:56

New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 29 Mar 2019, 16:37

Hello, I am looking for a bit of advice. I have had a new enclosure built for my two horsefields. It is 5ftx15ft built with a brick wall of 2ft. I am wondering whether I need to put a net? fencing over the top and if so recommendations of what sort. I shall be bringing them in each evening as we occasionally get foxes and wild rabbits in the garden. One of the joys of being in a rural location. My concern is for the daytime and whether birds would take them. Thank you in anticipation

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lin
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by lin » 29 Mar 2019, 17:59

Hi Dot and nice to hear from you.

That sounds like a fantastic enclosure you have for the horsfields (only one 'e' in horsfield - lol) and I would love to see a photo of them out enjoying the sun when you next put them out if thats possible.

I would say that foxes and birds would take tortoises, and both are active during the day as my photo shows :(
Birds as small as magpies have been known to take a smaller tortoise and crows will take bigger ones as well as the birds of prey we have in the UK.
So, in my opinion I suggest you do place a lid of mesh or wire over the top of the enclosure.
Lin

[attachment=0]Fox in garden.jpeg[/attachment]
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Fox in garden.jpeg

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Nina
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 29 Mar 2019, 18:25

Lin is right. I don't have a covering over my outdoor enclosure and I constantly worry about the tortoises and am going out to see them every ten minutes! My enclosure is a really odd shape, with undulating sides, so it's really hard to cover it. Also, it is such a hassle if the cover sits on top of the walls of the enclosure because it means you have to lift it or roll it back every time you want to go in and out yourself.

I did hear of a very good idea that someone did, which I think solves the human access problem and keeps birds out too, which is to erect a sort of fruit cage around the enclosure. So if it is oblong, you would have poles about 6' high at the corners and maybe a couple more in the middle, and then suspend netting from that, and there could be a way for you to get in too. This means the tortoises would be protected from birds (although probably not foxes), and you could go in and out with ease. This is the sort of thing I mean: https://www.ultimate-one.co.uk/walkin-h ... gL7GPD_BwE but you could make it yourself for far less money.

Nina

Dot
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 30 Mar 2019, 09:30

Thank you Lin and Nina for your suggestions. I think I will put some meshing over the top for now and ask hubby to make a walk in frame for me. He's not much of a diy enthusiast so I won't hold my breath! :lol: I will post a picture when the weather is nice,needless to say it is much cooler this morning. ( sorry I spelt horsfield wrong) :roll: Once again many thanks

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lin
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by lin » 30 Mar 2019, 10:58

Its ok, we won't wrap your knuckles over the spelling - lol. Heres a light read, its only a couple of lines under the Etymology heading.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_tortoise

I cant wait to see the enclosures in their stages of growth. Its so esciting and interesting starting afresh when we do have that opportunity.

Lin

Dot
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Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:56

Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 03 Apr 2019, 22:44

This was the first stage, when we had the area dug out and got all the blocks and cement in ready.
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Dot
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 03 Apr 2019, 22:46

Having had the wall built, this is me putting a top over to protect the tortoises from any birds or other intruders
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Dot
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 03 Apr 2019, 22:47

And what they have to look forward to when the sun returns!!
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Nina
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 04 Apr 2019, 09:03

Well, I have to say, that is an absolutely brilliant enclosure -- a really good size and lots of interest within it (things to walk over, around, etc.). You should be really proud of that, and your Horsfields will absolutely love their new little torty kingdom. Now could you come to Oxfordshire, please, and build me one just like that :D -- my two are very envious!

Nina

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lin
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by lin » 04 Apr 2019, 12:48

Oh wow. :o That is genius Dot. Well done to you and OH, you should be so pleased as will the tortoises. It looks so interesting with a lot of different things going on for them. Cant wait till the photos of them enjoying being outside start to come in.
You can even put a little shelter to use as summer shower hidaways.

Lin

Dot
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 04 Apr 2019, 16:07

Thank you for your kind comments. The finishing touch Lin is going to be a shelter at one end,it's made and just waiting for the weather to improve :mrgreen:

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lin
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by lin » 04 Apr 2019, 16:16

You wouldnt believe how impressed I am Dot.

Lin

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Nina
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 04 Apr 2019, 16:28

Me too (and I've already tried to book her as architect and project manager for my next tortoise enclosure! :)

Nina

Dino
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Joined: 15 Jun 2019, 10:22

Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dino » 15 Jun 2019, 10:48

Hello I’m new and looking around the forum and just had to say my babies would love that but we live in Blackpool and never get enough sun to leave them outside so thinking we will have to build something like this indoors :D it looks fantastic x

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Nina
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 15 Jun 2019, 11:36

Hi Dino,

Great that you've joined us here!
Tortoises do really benefit from being outside, as the UVB from the sun is of a much higher quality than that produced by the special lamps we use (and they get UVB even if it is cloudy). So if you could get your two outdoors when it is warm and sunny I think they will love it. The rough rule is that if it is warm enough for you to be outdoors in short sleeves then it's warm enough for tortoises to be outside. If it gets cool then I just bring mine in for a bit and warm them up under the lamps and them put them out again. Having said all that, the terrible weather we've been having has not been good for tortoises to be outdoors, and mine are very unhappy about that!

Nina

A Proper Charlie
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Joined: 13 Jul 2019, 13:01

Re: New outdoor enclosure - Question

Post by A Proper Charlie » 13 Jul 2019, 13:32

Hi, I have a Hermann (Charlie) 11 months old. He's so small I sit with him when I take him out on sunny days, but that means he is only out for an hour or so. Is he old enough to live outdoors in summer if I have a structure built? I know he is bored with his indoor enclosure. Thanks for your advice, Daire

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Nina
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 13 Jul 2019, 21:39

Hi Daire and welcome to The Tortoise Table! Yes, Charlie is old enough to be outside, although maybe not when it is cold or raining if he doesn't have a good shelter, and I think I would bring him in at night, just in case there are predators about. We have some guidelines on building an outdoor enclosure here https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... SpBFXt7m9s but basically you need an escape proof area with a good shelter that will protect him from rain, and preferably covered in mesh so that large birds like magpies can't get at him.

Have a look at the article and see what you think. Tortoises do love being outdoors, and the UVB from the sun is a much better quality than anything we can provide from a bulb indoors, so it does them a world of good.

Nina

Dot
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Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:56

Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 24 Jul 2019, 12:15

Hi there, I thought I would give you an update on the enclosure. With all this lovely weather I thought they would love it but how wrong could I be! As soon as they go in it they bury themselves without even eating anything!! They haven't eaten now for a week even with bringing them indoors.Help advice needed please :(

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 24 Jul 2019, 12:32

Oh dear -- what a shame! I can't remember where you live, but the hot weather we've been having for the last week or so might have made them want to aestivate (it's like hibernation except in the heat). In the wild tortoises are active first thing in the morning, and then hide away for a lot of the middle of the day and come out again early evening, so they might just need to develop a routine.

Do they have little shelters, or ornamental grasses or other plants that they can hide under if necessary? Also, I can't remember how old your Horsfields are, but if they are very young, then hiding away is very common because they are so vulnerable to predators. If they were OK until the last week or so then I would give them more time and see what happens. And you can take them out of their hidey places and put them in a sunny spot in the enclosure, along with some tempting food (they do love yellow flowers), and see if that helps. Do let us know how you get on.

Nina

Dot
Posts: 14
Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:56

Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Dot » 24 Jul 2019, 16:31

Hi Nina,thanks for your quick reply. We live in Wales and as you say it is rather warm at the moment!! We have had them 5 years so they are not babies. There are plenty of hideaways for them but the favourite is digging to go under a rock. I have been tempting them with a variety of food including dandelion which is their favourite but to no avail. I think the weather is supposed to change by the weekend so fingers crossed they will reappear.

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Nina
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Re: New outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 24 Jul 2019, 16:45

Ahh yes, digging is a Horsfield specialty! I'm not sure why they don't want the dandelions, and really even though it is hot they should still be tempted by food (mine seem to be fine outdoors in this heat at the moment). Do give it until the weekend and see what happens. Are they getting hydrated? Tortoises can go a really long time without food, but the can get dehydrated quickly in weather like this, so do give them some nice warms baths, in a container that they can't see out of, in water up to where their top shell meets their bottom shell for 15 - 20 minutes and that should ensure that they are well hydrated. Also, some peeled pieces of cucumber are usually relished, and that has lots of water in it, so that is a good thing on a hot day too.

Nina

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